Dallas, TX – GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention has released a series of videos and downloadable resources that are designed to help ministers and churches create financial plans that are sustainable and applicable to current tax law. They have been in the ministry of helping ministers and churches comply with the ever-changing landscape of rules that affect clergy compensation for many decades, and they are the best source to address these issues today. They asked churches what information would be most helpful as they organize their churches finances. Based on that feedback, they created a series of short videos to address topics including:
Minister Qualifications for Tax Purposes
Dual-Tax Status for Pastors
Minister’s Housing Allowance
Compensation Packages for Pastors
Opting Out of Social Security
Market-based Pastor’s Salary
Insurance Protection for Pastors and Churches
President and CEO, Hance Dillbeck explains “We created these videos for launch during Pastor Appreciation Month. In addition to these videos, our new Ministerial Resources Center provides in-depth resources to answer common financial and tax-related questions specific to pastors. The only branding in these resources is GuideStone focused, so feel free to share these on your social channels, in emails, or any other means you have available. The further we can share these, the better opportunity for our pastors to start well, stay well, and finish well as they serve the Lord.”
We will also link these resources on our website for future access to assist our Utah-Idaho churches to remain faithful to care for the financial needs of their pastors for many years to come.
We start with the simple understanding that the church has 2 natures. There is ecclesiastical or ministerial which centers on the mission and spiritual life and growth of the church. This is the responsibility of the pastor, elders, deacons, and other ministry leaders and workers. The secular or corporate nature centers on property, insurance, security, policy, fiscal, legal, and other business matters that support, protect, and enable the ministries of the church. This is the responsibility of the corporate officers (Moderator, Secretary, and Treasurer) and the trustees.
If a church is incorporated, Utah and Idaho state laws require that the church corporation have a board of directors or trustees and provide that all corporate powers be exercised by or under the authority of this board. The church, through its articles of incorporation, bylaws, and policies, may and should specify such things as election, roles, duties, and procedures for its trustees.
The role of the trustees comes with significant responsibilities. They must act (1) in good faith, with the care of an ordinarily prudent person; and (2) in a manner the trustee reasonably believes to be in the best interests of the corporation.
It is said that “good churches have good boards and boards are good when they have a good pastor who helps them be good.” Some attributes of a good board are that it has the philosophy that the board and pastor serve separate but complementary roles and need to function as partners; supports the pastor and staff and the mission of the church. Baptist churches are typically congregational in nature. Therefore, the trustees are accountable to the membership of the church and subject to actions taken by the church members and to the bylaws and policies of the church.
Some specific duties and responsibilities of the trustees will include the oversight of the maintenance, acquisition, security, use, safety of church property; review and sign all contracts, deeds, and legal documents; review, oversee, and make recommendations regarding insurance, policies, risk management, business practices, and any claims made against or on behalf of the church.
In smaller churches, there may be a tendency for the pastor to assume some of these duties and responsibilities and even to be regarded and act as the CEO and chairman of the board. That should be done cautiously and with the intent that it not be a permanent arrangement as those are corporate in nature.
Your Legal Team will gladly provide training, information, and guidance regarding your trustees.
Park City, UT – “But I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.” Mark Dance started the Recharge: Pastors and Wives Retreat with those words of encouragement from Acts 20:24. The room was filled with pastors, church staff, mission partners and their spouses from several states and entities. Each one came to this event with many different burdens and stressors put on them by life and leading the churches they serve. This event sought to help pastors and their spouses carry the weight of their mission call upon their lives. They don’t have to carry that weight alone.
“The hope for this event is that pastors and their wives know they are appreciated for the work they do serving churches across our two states” commented Rob Lee, UISBC Executive Director.
Our 2023 Recharge: Pastors and Wives Retreat at Newpark Resort in Park City, UT held July 18-20 was a huge success and would not have been possible without partnership between three entities working together with one goal in mind: to bless the pastors and their wives who bless our churches across Utah and Idaho. GuideStone Financial Resources provided travel and accommodations for Mark and Janet Dance who oversees Pastoral Wellness at GuideStone. Worship was provided by Danny Kugelberg from Church at the Gates in Missoula, MT. North American Mission Board provided gifts and meals, as well as the majority of the financial expenses to allow our pastors to attend with no personal financial burden to themselves other than transportation to the resort. Utah Idaho SBC picked up the remainder of the expenses for meals and rooms. Every pastor and their spouse was blessed with resources, gifts, and gift cards from all the ministry partners who participated.
The three days were highlighted by four sessions led by Mark and Janet Dance with the focus on encouragement and also allowed several hours of free time for couples to interact with other guests, or to just spend time together as a couple. The facility was the perfect setting for all of those missions to be accomplished.
Dallas Claypool of Sand Hollow Baptist Church in the Treasure Valley area of Idaho came with his wife, JoEllen. He commented on his social media after the event concluded “the best part was meeting some of the awesome pastors and their wives who are fighting the good fight. They spoiled us rotten and refilled our hearts and souls. My only regret is that it’s taken me seventeen years to make the time to go. If you are pastor and they invite you to the next one of these events, drop everything and GO! You won’t be disappointed.”
Amy Mamatela, whose husband Dan pastors in the Millcreek area of Salt Lake City commented to one of the convention staff, “you all make us feel like royalty with such wonderful rooms and thoughtful gifts. Thank you so much, we are glad we came”.
The next Recharge: Pastors and Wives Retreat will be in McCall, Idaho in the spring of 2024. The schedule and format will be very similar to the Utah event, running Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27. If you are interested, block out those dates on your calendar and stay tuned for more details which will be posted and distributed through our website and UI Connections monthly email blast.
We are grateful for the partnership between GuideStone, North American Mission Board, and your State Convention in providing these events. Through partnership, we are more effective than any of us could be on our own. Thank you to our ministry partners and friends who made Recharge 2023 possible.
Layton, UT – In an era when everything targeting teens focuses on making themselves look good, it is nice to see the next generation giving glory to God and seeking after the interests of others. The theme for Sonfest 2023 was “Selfless in a Selfie World” and was based on Philippians 2:3 where Paul encourages believers to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves”
Mountain View Baptist Church was host for this event, August 3-5, 2023. The hope was that by returning to a local church, we could lower costs and have the ability to host smaller breakout opportunities over the weekend that we were not able to do in previous venues. Guest speaker Algernon Tennyson shared a series of messages from Philippians 2 and 3 over the three main sessions while Sons of Asaph worship team facilitated relevant worship experiences that gave students an opportunity to sing praises together with peers form seven different churches across the two state convention. While the numbers were down, that did not dissuade the students present to connect with one another and respond to the challenges by Big Al.
Sonfest has been a staple event for Utah and Idaho Youth for over two decades, but this year, the format took major steps to allow more time for interaction between youth groups and opportunities for deeper discussion and learning to take place in smaller groups. This year, the event started on Thursday rather than the traditional Friday start. This middle of the week start may have played a part in lower attendance numbers and will be reevaluated for future events returning to the Friday to Sunday format in 2024 while retaining elements of the new format.
On Friday students started the day with devotion led by Jason McNair, Strengthening Churches Missionary for UISBC. Then students had a choice of two sessions of breakouts covering a number of relevant topics. Algernon taught older students about his ministry to end human trafficking, Elinor Blankenship taught an evangelism training class, Adam Richardson and Jonathan Blair led a student worship workshop, John Catron spoke about living missionally and referenced his recent GenSend missions experience in Miami, and Jason McNair led a Sound Technology breakout for youth interested in learning new skills.
Lunch was provided to students after the morning of breakout sessions, followed by group games and recreation in the field around the host church, followed by church group time. Friday concluded with dinner, then the second main session of worship and preaching. The event concluded with a final Saturday morning worship session followed by many of the youth going to Lagoon Amusement park in Farmington, UT.
Sonfest 2024 will plan to be more of a hybrid of the new format, but will have those breakouts on Saturday morning before session two which will motivate students going to Lagoon to use the lessons learned the previous two sessions to seek out gospel conversations in the park. The hope is that by moving it back to a Friday to Sunday will allow more churches to participate by removing the burden of adult sponsors from having to take an extra day off of work like they did this year.
Mark your calendar to join us for Sonfest next year back at Mountain View Baptist Church, August 2-4, 2024
This story originally appeared in May 23, 2023 issue of Baptist Press. Across Idaho and Utah, churches have a heart for community involvement. It is encouraging to hear reports of churches doing ministry to strengthen their connection with the areas they serve. However, while the desire is there to serve, Lifeway research tells us that fewer churchgoers actually put “boots on the ground” and “hand the plow” to actually serve.
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (BP) – Although most churchgoers want to serve in their communities for Gospel impact, there is a noticeable gap when it comes to the number who are already volunteering for a charity.
Most Protestant churchgoers say their churches encourage them to serve people not affiliated with their church and that they want to do so. But few have volunteered in the past year. More than 4 in 5 churchgoers say their churches encourage every adult to serve people outside their church (84 percent) and they want to serve these people in hopes of sharing the Gospel (86 percent).
Despite saying they want to serve people who are not a part of their church, few churchgoers are even serving within the context of their own churches. Two in 3 (66 percent) churchgoers say they have not volunteered for a charity (ministry, church or non-ministry) in the previous year. Three in 10 (30 percent) say they have, and 4 percent are not sure. According to the latest findings of the U.S. Census Bureau, 23 percent of Americans volunteered through an organization between September 2020 and September 2021.
“The easiest way to serve others is when a charity or group organizes the effort,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “They recognize the need, come up with a plan and often gather needed resources. You just have to show up. Churchgoers say they want to, but less than a third showed up to help a charity in the previous year.”
In another 2022 Lifeway Research study, Protestant pastors said churchgoers were more likely to serve in the church than in the community. Pastors estimated, on average, 42 percent of their adult churchgoers were involved with regular responsibilities at their churches. And pastors estimated an average of 27 percent of adult churchgoers were involved in serving in the community.
The gap between desire and action
Although younger churchgoers – 18-34 (91 percent) and 35-49 (91 percent) – are more likely than those 50-64 (84 percent) and older than 65 (79 percent) to say they want to serve people in their community who are not affiliated with their church, the oldest churchgoers (those over the age of 65) are the most likely to say they participated in any type of volunteer work in the previous year (40 percent).
Denominationally, Methodists are the most likely to say their churches encourage them to be involved in ministry that serves community members not affiliated with the church (98 percent) and among the most likely to say they want to do this in hopes of sharing the Gospel (95 percent). Still, Methodist churchgoers are the most likely to say they did not participate in any volunteer work in the previous year (88 percent).
“This study did not measure service churchgoers may have done individually for their neighbors. Meeting such needs as they arise is a great form of service,” McConnell said. “But some of the most widespread needs in communities require volunteers working together, something that the majority of churchgoers don’t do over the course of a year.”
A similar gap between desire and action exists for Christians sharing their faith, according to a 2022 Evangelism Explosion study conducted by Lifeway Research. More than 9 in 10 (93 percent) self-identified Christian adults in the U.S. say they are at least somewhat open to having a conversation about faith with a friend. And around 4 in 5 (81 percent) feel similarly about speaking about faith with a stranger. Yet, in the past six months, 53 percent had a conversation about faith with a loved one. And 40 percent had a conversation about faith with a stranger.
Although many factors may contribute to this gap, pastors identified one in a 2021 Lifeway Research study that may play a role in churchgoers’ hesitation to get involved in both evangelism and community service – comfort. More than 2 in 3 Protestant pastors (67 percent) say comfort is a modern-day idol that has significant influence in U.S. churches.
Cultivating desire that leads to action
Theological beliefs and church attendance frequency contribute to the likelihood a person wants to serve and will have actually volunteered outside of their congregation. Those who attend a worship service at least four times a month are more likely than those who attend one to three times a month to want to serve people in their communities (88 percent v. 82 percent). The most frequent church attendees are also the most likely to have volunteered in the past year (37 percent).
Additionally, those with evangelical beliefs are more likely than those without to have a desire to serve those in their communities who are unaffiliated with their churches (90 percent v. 83 percent) and to have served to in the past year (37 percent v. 25 percent).
“Service is contagious. When you are regularly participating in the life of your church, people you get to know will ask you to serve with them,” McConnell said. “Doing good things with friends is enjoyable and easier to find time to do.”
Lifeway Research conducted the online survey of 1,002 American Protestant churchgoers Sept. 19-29, 2022, using a national pre-recruited panel. Respondents were screened to include those who identified as Protestant/non-denominational and attend religious services at least once a month. Quotas and slight weights were used to balance gender, age, region, ethnicity, education and religion to more accurately reflect the population. The completed sample is 1,002 surveys. The sample provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 3.3 percent. This margin of error accounts for the effect of weighting. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.
What’s a messenger and what should the messenger expect? A “messenger” is a delegate appointed by an affiliated SBC church to attend the SBC Annual Meeting on the church’s behalf. Much goes on at the annual meetings, messengers will meet people, hear speakers, visit vendors, and hopefully have a fun and informative time. Being a messenger has definite legal aspects and responsibilities. The collective messengers are similar to a legislative body, like Congress, they make decisions through asking questions, speaking, and voting.
When messengers arrive at the meeting, they first need to check in at the Credentials Desk and upon registration will be given a packet of materials including an itinerary, copies of reports, and documents, resolutions, anticipated actions, and more. The messengers need to become familiar with those. Each day, a newsletter will be distributed that gives updates and information about the day’s activities. There will be several sessions at which Baptist entities (for example, the International Mission Board) will make reports, elections will be held, motions or resolutions will be proposed, discussed and voted on, etc. Look, learn, and listen….and vote as God leads.
In choosing messengers, ensure that you are picking people who exemplify the qualities of 1 Timothy 3:8. We also recommend confirming travel plans, reimbursements, and insurance for messengers.
The SBC Annual Meeting is a great opportunity to learn what others are doing, experiencing, thinking…and especially to enjoy “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4: 3). Afterwards, it would be great if your messengers let us know their thoughts and experience. Thanks for going!